Book Love

I don’t remember the title, but when I was in 5th grade, I tried to read a book about pioneers moving into space who were only allowed to take one book with them on the journey. The youngest child was the only person on board the craft who wouldn’t share her book. Although I never finished this book, I believe she carried a blank journal. I couldn’t finish it because as soon as the narrative said passengers were only allowed one book, I started trying to figure out what I would take.

I loved to play old west pioneer, my bed loaded up like a wagon, stuffed animals walking along side, and me, driving the wagon train (the dog if I could get him to sit still), perched on top of the end of my bed. My bed was sturdy and swooped delightfully at either end, making a perfect perch for a rugged trailblazer, a pony, and a place to sit with my torso out the window, legs wrapped around the iron bedstead, enjoying the sun. At the foot of the bed, one of the bars popped out, giving me enough room for a secret escape hatch. Upon reading the first few chapters of my mystery book, I draped a sheet over the far end of the bed, stashed my pennies and peppermint candies under the mattress, grabbed a soda, and set to work deciding which book I would bring with me.

That’s where the fantasy broke down. I was never able to figure out what book to bring. Who could? What a catastrophe! The world is no longer tenable and humans must dive into stardust to save themselves, but what to bring? What would you bring? I changed the rules a bit for comfort and decided I could bring the books that could fit inside of a shoe box, but that didn’t leave room for my illustrated guide to Egyptian mummification, which might, in fact, prove handy. Nor did it leave room for the gazillian American Diary books that I gulped down regularly and mimicked for my second ever book (the first was a retelling of Hop on Pop in which Pop becomes irate and stomps around the house saying, “Hop on Pop, Eh!” The ill fated book blew out the window of the car, where I was holding it to show it off to the love of my life, who lived about 4 miles down a dirt road we passed). The second book I ever wrote was the diary of a girl who looked just like me and who couldn’t clean her room because her closet was made for hiding secrets and also occasionally for acting as an elevator to above the clouds and, therefore, couldn’t hold clothes. In the book, as in real life, her mother takes the doors off of the closet, convincing her that she will be able to use them as book shelves and will be more likely to hang her clothes up if the closet isn’t an awesome place to read with a flashlight and pretend its the end of the world. Only in the book, it is the end of the world and the girl is left to hide in less comfortable places, like in the garage.

Neither could I bring along Tolkien, Grimms, the fables, any of the retellings of Cinderella, or the awesome Blossom Culp books. The situation grew dangerous and I’m ashamed to say I had a panic attack. Not my first, not my last, not even my last over books, but an imagination-fueled book-induced panic. Yikes! I was such a nerd. I never finished that book, and obviously didn’t even remember what it was called, all because it made me think unpleasant thoughts about my books.

I tell you this ridiculous story to tell you another ridiculous story. I’ve been trying to be really organized with no success in my new house. I tried very hard to keep the books confined to the space I called my office, but that didn’t work for me. I felt confined, and soon the books I was reading, the stacks I was bringing home from my office in preparation for our big move, and the books I was buying by the sack-full at thrift shops started to pile up everywhere. I decided that what was missing was a dedicated space for the excitement of unread books. I love the thrill of picking up a new book. It’s electric. Inside of an unread book are ideas I haven’t thought of, things I can connect with, stories that will make me question and subsequently understand humanity in all new ways. Books are wonderful.

I already had a system for books I’ve read. I have an impossibly hard time giving up books.  In my closet are two boxes of books designated for potential future children, who, I hope, will love books as ardently as I do. These are the books I read in childhood that I adored. My youthful pantheon: L’engle, historical romances, Harry Potter, Richard Peck, and Dr. Seuss. Then there’s the space for books I plan to give away. Getting rid of a book feels better if it goes to someone who will love it. There’s a stack for each member of my family, close friends, and a stack for students. Then, next to that, is the shelf dedicated to the books of my trade. Literary theory and volumes of classics. Finally, my favorite shelf, my new pantheon, populated by Sedaris, Cisneros, Adams, Alexie, Parker, O. Henry, Kerouac, Chinaski, Boland, Cummings, Thurber, Chelsea Handler, Samantha Bee, Jenny Lawson, and placed there just Saturday, Caitlin Moran. These are the books that changed my life, made me better understand my purpose and place in this big scary world.

And now, thanks to a bit of work this weekend, my bedroom is home to the stacks and stacks of haven’t-read-yets. The bedroom seemed the perfect place to stash unread dreams, and I fell asleep last night looking at the shape of it in the dark. I have book love, and while you might call it obsessive, at least I know where I belong: in the midst of a stack of books. Hallelujah.

And now, I’m waiting for class to start. Before I started teaching, I really didn’t get reluctant readers. What’s there to be reluctant about? You open a book, you smell the pages as they flicker under your nose, and you dive in. You get angry when people interrupt you because it’s like being woken from a dream. That’s book love. So how does that translate to people who don’t like to read? I’m not sure yet, but I’m trying. I read Penny Kittle’s Book Love at the behest of my boss, and I think there are some really interesting ideas. Reading has to be authentic, meaningful. It has to be something that the reader can connect with, own. My own attempts to inspire reading are based in my desire to see students as people, readers and writers who are working with me, the so-called expert, to improve their work. That’s helped some, but not completely.

This whole blog comes down to this: I want to be a great teacher who inspires her readers and writers to love the process, but I’m not sure how. If you are a reader or a writer, will you share with me how you came to call yourself that? Come on, help a teacher out.

Posted in adulthood, Books, teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cheerful Lies and Embracing Darkness

Every kid I’ve ever babysat draws pictures and, regardless of scene, puts a perfectly round sun with wavy rays in the corner. Ask him why, and he’ll tell you it’s there. Remind him he can’t really see it, doesn’t really notice it when he’s looking at houses or cars or people lined up with crayon grins and he’ll be puzzled. He draws it because it is there and to hide it is to miss something important.

If you smile, people like you more. It’s proven. It’s true, but sometimes when I’m smiling, I kind of hate myself for it. I’ve come to create for myself a great distinction between “cheerfulness” and “joyfulness.” I used to get called cheerful a lot. I was trying out church, trying to make friends and blend in and find some peace for my soul, but all I managed to do was to learn to hide behind a “cheerful” disposition and a friendly smile, and, yes, that’s my fault, but churches are engineered around cheerfulness. Wow, that was one hell of a run on, but I had to get it all out fast so I could say it. I learned that the more I hid, not just sadness, but insecurity, anger, annoyance, grumpiness even actual caring love for another human being that real feeling that someone else matters to me behind a toothy grin and an awkward, plastic hug, the more deeply I felt those things.

It’s like cleaning a house. I’ve explained before how much I hate cleaning, how it leaves me feeling rattled and unproductive. I love to have a clean house, but, unfortunately or fortunately (however you look at it), I enjoy writing, reading, analyzing bad tv, and staring at a spot in the yard for hours, thinking about history and the universe and all of time colluding together in this space, dancing like dust in sunlight, to influence an idea. Cheerfulness is the exact opposite of that exquisite nothingness. Cheerfulness is scrubbing a stove until my hands are raw and the enamel is eaten away because something is irritating me, and I am unwilling to admit to myself that the thing that irritates is that cleanliness and not thoughtfulness is next to Godliness.

Joyfulness, in my definition, is the inexplicable calm that comes over me in odd moments. I’m not going to be able to explain it well here. Every bit of fiction and poem I’ve ever scribbled is an attempt to put it in words, but I’ll try here. It’s sorrow and warmth all wrapped up together in the sacrosanct lightness of knowing beyond doubt, even in just a nanosecond, that thousands of years of love, fear, and survival have created each of us to live and die on this planet, at this time, in these circumstances. It’s the oxymoron of the autonomous obligation to live a life that matters to us, each of us, alone.

I’ve not entirely thrown off the yoke of cheer. In fact, that might be impossible, but I have learned, through hardship and the realization that I am not always (or even often) an honest representation of the hurricane of human emotion raging underneath my skin, that I want to embrace honesty and openness, even when to do so is to incur criticism. I remind myself that I don’t always have to be nice at the cost of my conscience or my well-being because the life I want is not as a servant to everyone. I am allowed to let my spaces get absolutely hoarders-disgusting one day and then turn around and craft one tiny beautiful tableau the next. It is within my rights to tell people to go away, or no, or I care about you.

I want to share a recurring dream I’ve had for the past two weeks. In it, I am energy present at the birth of the sun. You are too, everyone I’ve ever met is here. Everyone is energy. There is a massive sound, but we don’t hear it. We feel it, and it rattles through us like a shiver, giving us shape and form as we rush toward the source and then, glowing so hot I can only see all the colors of the light spectrum, we become the sun. Then, moving toward Earth, we light it, warm it, and watch as life begins to sprout up and take form. And then (keep in mind, this is a dream, not accurate science) I am born to die over and over, becoming a blossom on a tree or a spore caught in the wind. Each time, each becoming feels just like becoming the sun.  And in this dream, I feel wholly joyful, for I am part of the life cycle and the life cycle itself, occasionally harnessed energy, made of stardust.

I share the dream because I think that it is probably the closest I’ve come to understanding joy, other than deciding that it is the opposite of cheer. Joy kills earnestness, that sticky sweet sentimentalism that coats our greeting cards and self-help books, and makes room for honesty. What, after all, is more honest than the killing and necessary light of the sun?

Posted in adulthood, cheating, pseudoscience, quirk, religion, self | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Death Looks a Lot Like Hunter Thompson

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” Hunter Thompson

Unfortunately, they don’t work for me.

I hesitated to post this, but then asked myself, “What Would Dr. Gonzo Do?” and the answer, of course, is that he would write it better than I will and sell it to a magazine. I’ll settle for sharing it here.

This is the story about how Hunter Thompson came to tell me I wasn’t dying.

And before you start making judgments and try to get me fired, I didn’t strap a tape recorder to my chest, drive to Vegas with my best friend and “attorney,” while taking every type of drug I could get my hands on. This is legal, over-the-counter, appropriate drug use here. So get off the soap box I imagine you standing on right now.  This is not a story about drug abuse in the usual sense, where the user abuses the drugs, but rather in the strange world of my body where the drugs abuse me.

I have never tried illegal drugs, partly because I’m a big ole chicken and partly because even “safe” drugs make me high. I mean, the first time I took an Ibuprofen, I was positive that we were all going to die if we kept letting our friend drive us places. Come to think of it, I might have been right on that one.

Here’s some background to set up why I was taking something. A couple of nights ago, I had popped a Zyrtec for allergies. I have ridiculous allergies in the spring, and my Dr. prescribed Zyrtec because I’d taken it before with general success and sleepiness because I’ve had a bad reaction to steroids and she won’t let me have an allergy shot anymore. I figured I could handle living like a zombie for a few months as long as I stopped having that itch deep inside my ears all the time.

After taking the allergy pill, I settled in to grade papers and started to become acutely aware of my own heart. Have you ever had heart palpitations? It was amazing and terrifying all at once. Talk about knowing you are alive. My heart was beating so fast and so hard that I started to wonder if somehow there were two of them in there, beating asynchronously. It got worse every time I moved, so I, foolishly, decided to go to bed instead of to the hospital because I figured sleep would ease the heart. The next morning, I found out that less than 2% of Zyrtec users have palpitations. Awesome. This is the wrong type of unique.

Now, I’m not sure if I dreamed this or if it was a real hallucination, but either way, it was trippy.

I was in my bed, heart popping out of my chest like a cartoon, and the door opened. I hadn’t left the hall light on, but when a man walked in through the brightly lit doorway, smelling of sweat and smoke (you can figure out what kind), there was a bright light behind him. It was Hunter Thompson, but I didn’t know that at first because he was wearing a Ronald Reagan mask. Actually, that part was pretty terrifying. He was wearing a Hawaiian-print shirt and shorts. He pulled off the mask, sat in the chair beside my bed, and threw his legs up on top of the dog, who shifted around until Thompson moved. I rolled over, sighed, and looked at him.                                                                   Dr. Gonzo


“What are you doing here? Am I dead?” I  asked.

He laughed, wheezing a bit. “Not even close, cupcake.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m Death.”

“But I’m not dying?”

“Well, you won’t if you don’t go to the hospital in town. Those Fuckers will kill you.” He pointed a joint at me.

I nodded and looked at the ceiling for a bit, when I looked back, he was still there. “So why are you here?”

“To tell you not to go to the hospital, Dumb Ass.”

“Fair Enough. Will you close the door?” the light was still hurting my eyes.

“You got it.”He stood up, “Say no to drugs.” He pointed his joint at me one more time and walked out of my bedroom, closing the door behind him and laughing.

And this is the story of how Hunter Thompson/Death saved my life. Despite what you might think, I’m not obsessed with the author, even though I very much liked Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I think that maybe my subconscious just thought that Thompson would make a pretty decent grim reaper. Unfortunately, this story is true, and I can’t take Zyrtec anymore. I guess if you have a near-death experience, you can tell me if the person who talks you through it looks like Thompson. I might be onto something here.

Posted in adulthood, Books, cheating, family, love, pseudoscience, quirk, writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Thanks to my One-Eyed, Cheating Grandpa

**Disclaimer, the story you are about to read might be entirely fabricated by my overactive imagination as a way to explain why I am naturally a good cheat at poker. Then again, these real and vivid memories might be entirely factual, remembered under the influence of jellied orange slices. All but two key figures are dead (and not in some poker vendetta or cursed object horror flick thing, just because that’s what happens to old people eventually). Only my great uncle and I could tell you what really happened, and while my memory bluffs, his is old and creaky and not to be trusted.  It is up to the reader, then, to decide if this is real, and perhaps to test the theory in a dimly lit room, over beer and cigars, while a player with a bad hand drops his poker chips over and over because he doesn’t know how I know he has such a lousy hand.

This is the story of how I learned to cheat at poker.

One of my earliest memories is of learning to play poker against my will. I wanted to manhandle the new chicks that my brother would be raising for the county fair. I was prohibited from that activity after my mom found my lying on the floor of the chicken coop, saying, “play, minions, play!” while the yellow chicks ran over me. I remember her going off about lice and how you can’t train chickens to be a trained playground army, but I knew full well what birds were capable of because I snuck in while the folks were watching The Birds. I was hoping to train my army to protect the swings at the park from the bigger kids who liked to freak out the little children so that they could wrap the chains around the poles.

Instead of training my militia, I was inside in the heat of summer, stuck to a plastic chair because I refused to put on pants (I may regret revealing this much about myself), learning to play the most boring adult game of them all, poker.  My parents kept a tin bucket–painted blue with serene ducks waddling along its edge–behind the washing machine. The bucket was full of pennies. Every now and again, they’d pull in down, put up a deteriorating card table in our living room, and get down to the business of playing a cutthroat, no-apologies, all-day-long game of 5 card draw penny ante.  While I was much more interested in making shapes and maps with my pennies, my family was doing their best to make my pile of change dwindle and were constantly asking me, “Now why did you lose that hand?” My dad’s philosophy is that you should learn anything worth learning by screwing it up first. That’s exactly why I got a note sent home the first day of kindergarten. When Mrs. Fifer said, “Now listen carefully to the instructions, boys and girls,” I put on my best dad impression and said, “We don’t need no stinkin’ distructions!” Learning the basic rules of poker meant a lot of losing and getting my pile restocked until I could win.

By the time I met my grandpa Charles, my mom’s dad, he’d already had three wives and several types of cancer. He came into my life with a diminutive but ornery and very funny wife named Clara, a pervasive stench of cigarettes, bowed legs, and a missing eye. Grandpa lost his eye to cancer, and his great test upon meeting people, especially children, for the first time, was to pop out the glass eye and drop it into his beer. If the eye wasn’t in his face (as was normal for him) He’d remove his glasses and the eye patch and rub around the empty socket as if he had a headache. When he did this to me the first time, I just smiled. I would have said “cool,” but that word got us in more trouble in my house than “damn it all to hell!” **which was big trouble.** I instantly liked my cowboy/pirate grandpa.

Our first meeting was at one of the yearly miniature family reunions, which happen at the same time as the festival celebrating the small town where my grandpa and siblings grew up. Grandpa Charlie, his brothers, and several of their long-time friends would sequester themselves in a backroom, far from the mad, screaming children and pie-baking wives, and play a game of poker that began Friday morning, took a few hours off for the dance, and ended late Sunday morning when the far-flung relatives drove home, hungover. Children were strictly forbidden from the poker room unless they fell under one of the following categories: food/booze deliverers, those kids who had the $50 buy in to lose, and messengers sent by the wives. I was allowed in because I was a novelty. I was meeting my grandpa and countless aunts and uncles and cousins and people who might be family but might not, and I was obviously overwhelmed. Plus, I was a red head, like grandpa (probably) used to be. When I nodded (lying) when grandpa asked if I liked poker, I was allowed to sit on the bony grandpa’s knee, eat jellied orange slices, and take hesitant, unpleasant sips of his beer until the cigarette smoke and boredom chased me out of the room.

I remember staring at a picture on the wall, far enough above my head that the faces had morphed into monsters, and wondering why anyone would hang something so ugly in their home. I was eating a piece of purloined pie (Pinon) and dropping crumbs all over the carpet. That’s when Grandpa Charles came out for a bathroom break. He growled and assumed the gunfighter stance when he spotted me. I faced off and screwed up my face like all the cowboys in the John Wayne movies my dad liked. He laughed and patted my head. On his way back, he asked if I’d like to help him play. Of course I wanted to help the pirate play. He explained this awesome game where I would move around the room and see how everyone else was doing, then come and help him decide how many of “them pretty little chips,” to bet. To say I was naive is a vast understatement.

He grabbed his cowboy hat off a nearby table and plunked it on my head. It covered half my face. I realize now, that there was a reason for the hat. No one could see where I was looking because they hat stayed facing forward while I had free range of motion underneath like I was a defective bobble head. For the first few rounds, I wandered the room in that 10 gallon hat, looking for the best hands and betting accordingly, but as I did it, I noticed that one uncle kept extra cards in the cuff of his jeans and that the only woman at the table, gruff voiced and cursing, was occasionally dragging the burning end of her cigarette across the corners of aces and kings. Though I didn’t recognize what they were doing as cheating at the time,  everyone at the table was trying to pull one over on everyone else, yet, in the midst of all the card marking, and hidden cards cards, and sending small children around to read hands they thought they were playing a completely fair game. In fact, they generally went home with about what they started with.

Eventually, I’d live with my grandpa and Clara part-time while I went to school. I spent many years watching the games and only subbing for bathroom breakers because I didn’t have the money to buy in. Even in my teen years, grandpa would occasionally ask me what I though he should do with a hand. Neither of us ever admitted to the others that I actually knew what I was doing or that I was fully aware of their shenanigans.  I learned not only how to blatantly cheat, but also to read tells, which is like cheating, but with more real-world application. I also learned that cheating is no match against actual skill. It wasn’t until much later, when I was learning to play Texas Hold ‘Em in college, that I realized that my poker strategy was not entirely up and up. I didn’t mark cards, but I sort of naturally looked for the places where people screwed up and revealed their cards, like the guy who flicked his hand between two fingers, creating a lovely flip book that revealed every card he had. I eventually told him, but only because he was playing some for-money games that were wiping him out. See, I’m a moral cheat.

And this is the point where I could hammer in a shaky metaphor about how we are all cheating, really, or how we have to learn to read the cards people aren’t showing, but I won’t. It is easy for me to fall into the moralistic fairy tale trap even while I am astutely aware that my moral compass is a bit screwy. Nor am I trying to write an indictment of my grandpa and his bad ways, of which there are many, but rather I want to celebrate his good humor.  Maybe that’s what I’m trying to suss out here. I will never be able to play in the world series of poker because of my one-eyed cheating grandfather, but I have basically lived out scenes from Maverick, which is kind of cool, oh, excuse me, damn fun. Besides, even when I was trying to build my vast chicken army, all I really wanted to do with my entire life was to tell stories. What would I talk about without characters like my grandpa? And even if I’ve told his story badly, doesn’t he deserved to be celebrated in it?

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Duties of a Best Friend

I am fortunate to have a few best friends who really knock my socks off with their caring ways. In fact, they are so remarkably good at being best friends that I am often left feeling like the slacker of the relationship. The following list are things that my friends do well that I wish I could do better, which I have written in my writer’s notebook to remind me.

1. Appreciate the things that make your friend geeky. I can’t tell anymore who liked Doctor Who, zombies, Jane Austen, Supernatural, Downton Abbey or mustaches first because we have so embraced one another’s weird idiosyncratic fandoms.

2. Let your best friend know when you see something or someone that reminds you of her. One friend sends me texts every time “flightsuits” come into the pub that she and her husband own. Another texts me when she watches a bad horror flick. We’ve built entire webs of sublanguages to communicate the fact that we are thinking of one another.

3. If your best friend hates someone so do you. If your best friend is trying really hard to be an understanding human being and not hate someone out of jealousy or anger, too bad, you still have to hate that person. It is your duty to think that everything that person does is not only annoying but ridiculous and occasionally inhumane. ex: “— doesn’t like animals? What kind of evil Hitler-lover doesn’t think animals are cuddly wuddly?”

4. As a best friend, it is your duty to make jokes about your friend’s insecurities while simultaneously being supportive of them. Never never never use your friendship as an opportunity to point out what you see as a character flaw in your friend. Only address those that your friend already knows about, for those are the things your friend feels are important.

5. Share books. You needn’t feel like you have to share books with everyone who wants to borrow them. My circle of lending is larger than my closest friends, but I certainly don’t trust every person I call friend to return a book. A real friend will not only return the book but talk about it and suggest other books.

6. Watch bad movies together. Don’t worry about tastes don’t worry about coolness; just watch movies together that you may make fun of. This is a bonding experience.

7. Send gifts and letters and little trinkets that say that you are thinking of your friend. For example, my favorite thing recently was a handmade scarf that looks like a TARDIS. I mean, that is real friendship there

8. Always make tea or coffee or bring wine or something lovely and yummy that unites you together under the common stars of partaking of the good things on the earth.

9. Your best friend will have traits that annoy you. Let them go.

10. Establish boundaries to protect your youness. It is easy to forget where one friend ends and another starts, but you must maintain your own presence in the face of all that togetherness. Keep secrets if you must, or live away from your friends. Whatever it is you must do, protect what makes you you. Your best friends will understand and strive to protect you  too.

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Awesome? Sad? I Guess Both

Some students at my University have started a website of anonymous confessions about things students do, and a friend posted some harmless confessions on her facebook. Here’s my list, inspired by them.

1. My sister confessed to me this week that she had a crush on Gambit, the X Man. I got a little jealous because I liked him too.

2. A student asked me how I make writing essays fun for myself. All I could think of was that it is fun, so I made up a story about rewarding oneself with jelly beans.

3. Every bill in the mail reminds me of how sad it is that no one writes letters anymore.

4. One of my bestest friends sends me periodic presents, and I encourage my neighbors to think that I have a Sugar Daddy rather than just a really caring friend with access to my Amazon wish list.

5. I have a terrible crush on/lust for Eric the Vampire on True Blood. I watch the whole ridiculous show just for the bloody viking. Heck, I watched Battleship because he was in it.

6. If I’m sad, really sad (I won’t say depressed because I’m not sure it counts), I’ll sit down and mainline books. I always come out ready to face the other people in the world again. This weekend’s binge, for example, tallied 8 books, and now I feel refreshed and ready to get work done. I didn’t realize that meant I was an introvert (still, thought I’d grown out of it) until I read a blog about introverts needing alone time to recharge.

7. I get a perverse joy out of making my house look like fratboys live there.

8. When people say “my bad” when they should say “I’m sorry,” I think I should be allowed to make them write lines.

9. If I get too domestic, you know, compulsively cleaning/cooking/worrying about people, I freak out. Some of my friends like to clean when they are stressed, but cleaning causes me to stress.

10. Because I believe in affirmation, I occasionally stand in front of the mirror and call myself sexy.


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Apologies and Downton Abbey

Wow, I’ve certainly dropped the ball here haven’t I? I haven’t posted in months, yet I logged in today to find a steady stream of readers even in my absence. That just makes me feel so much worse. 

I have many excuses, as any human should. 2012 was a tumultuous year, and in it I learned more about myself than I ever wanted to know. After all of the stress and heartbreak, I picked up the pen and started writing again in earnest. It’s been ages since I wrote a story or could sustain an idea, but they came tumbling from me. I fear, in the aftermath, I avoided the blog. All I wanted to write about here was how badly the year was going, and I didn’t want to burden anyone else with that. Someone said to me that when comfort and complacency are stripped away, truth remains. In that space of losing people and ideas, I learned what I truly believe in, and that is that the only time I feel wholly me is while writing, which kind of sucks, because writing is kind of torturous.  

I shall try better now to write for you and maybe even entertain you on occasion. My friends are so supportive of this little blog that I feel I must continue, if only to give them something to cheer. 


In that spirit, here’s an Apology Post.

Having recently fallen deeply in love with the best soap opera in the world, Downton Abbey, I have found that the show influences my daily activities. I often think, of myself in terms of my favorite characters when in sticky situations. In that vein, here’s an apology from each of my favorite Downton characters.

The Dowager: The offence created by a dearth of posts pales in comparison to what one would have felt had I written more diligently. 

Cousin Isobel: Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister…. oh, hang on, wrong series. I would have assumed of my readers that they should understand that there are more pressing matters at hand than writing for a contemptible and paltry blog. 

Lady Mary: I know you think I’m retched, and I, no doubt, deserve your contempt, but I love you.

Lady Edith: I am not bothered by your faults, so please, ignore mine. I didn’t write because I was with the marriages of my prettier sisters. My favorite thing about you is that you continue to read my blog, even though my writing is far from attractive.

Daisy: I don’t know why you even click the link to the blog in the first place. I’m just a kitchen maid!

Branson: This blog is political, and must change with the state of politics in this country. I am here for the rights of the downtrodden, not for entertainment. 


Mrs. Patmore: Ah, get to bed and quit looking at this blog before you ruin your eyes!

Thomas: I am sorry, and I hope that you will continue to allow me to serve you.

Mrs. O’Brien: I’m sorry to see you upset. I don’t mind saying it. Please allow me to spend the rest of my life trying to make up for my dire mistake.  

Ethel: Please, mum, consider me humbled by what I’ve experienced.

Anna: I am not sorry, for I know now what it is to exist. Now there’s no life for me but this.


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